04/14/2004 11:00PM

Feature draws some big names


CALGARY, Alberta - The Night of Champions, Alberta's annual salute to the champions of the previous season, received a boost when Sixthirtyjoe, They Call Me Cody, and Rindanica - major contenders in their respective divisions at the awards banquet at Stampede Saturday evening - were entered in a $23,000 allowance that goes as the featured eighth race on the afternoon program.

The six-furlong prep for the May 8 Stampede Park Sprint Championship attracted a solid group, headed by Sixthirtyjoe, voted champion older horse and horse of the year in 2002. Sixthirtyjoe is the leading candidate for sprinter honors for 2003 off a campaign that included victories in three important sprints.

They Call Me Cody is the major threat to dethrone Sixthirtyjoe in the older horse division, following victories last season in the Herald Gold Plate here and the Westerner at Northlands

Both Sixthirtyjoe and They Call Me Cody are also prominent contenders for the champion Alberta-bred trophy, an award that Sixthirtyjoe also captured in 2002.

Rindanica is nominated in the 3-year-old colts and geldings division and comes off a campaign that included two stakes victories and earnings of $135,678. Nevertheless, he had the misfortune to be born in the same year as Taiaslew, who won four stakes and earned $204,325.

The connections of Sixthirtyjoe can empathize, as they were unable to match Fancy As in 2001 on his march toward the 3-year-old crown and horse of the year honors.

In Saturday's feature, Sixthirtyjoe could be the favorite, following a string of good works, including a breezing move of 1:01.20 over five furlongs last Saturday.